Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memory, Music & Alzheimer's

Following links in a story about brain research and Alzheimer's, I found this preview of an article behind a pay wall:

Music is known to aid memory, especially recalling autobiographical information. 

For example, people with Alzheimer's disease are better at remembering events from their own past when music is playing in the background. It was less clear whether tunes could also help them learn.

Brandon Ally at Boston University and his team were inspired by the report of a man with Alzheimer's who could recall current events if his daughter sang the news to him to the tune of familiar pop songs. They decided to try it out for themselves.

Since the title of the article is Dementia: Sing me the news, and I'll remember it, the researchers apparently met with some success. This fits with how the neuroscience is telling us music uses various parts of the brain, as opposed to a single one that can get damaged by disease, and that for Alzheimer's patients that can mean using music to enhance memories by pulling together undamaged parts of the brain. I just had never seen anything previous to this about music being used to help lay down new memories for such people, but it makes sense.

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